Sunday, July 20, 2014

One Woman's Mormon Temple Experience

It breaks my heart to see so many people struggling in the wake of excommunication. It is like a sea of disquiet. I know I can help one soul at a time, but right now the pain is overwashing anything I could do, so I'm mostly just listening.

There is so much discourse about women's terrible temple experiences, how the endowment ceremony hurts them, how it keeps them unable to understand their place and who they are as women. Right now all the stories seem to be about how unequal and terrible it is. But I believe in the power of stories. Parts of my story can only be shared one-on-one, in person, when moved by the Spirit. But right now I feel constrained to share something publicly. Maybe seeing how I process my temple experience can help someone else who is trying to understand.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Sin of Pride Within the Church

"...Ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God."
3 Nephi 11:38

I think Satan rejoices just as much over smug self-satisfaction as he does about those who error in doctrine. Contention is not just about asking questions, it's also about condemning those with different paradigms than ours. Not all who subscribe to OW are in open rebellion, and I think those of us who don't believe in liberal principles or female ordination need to guard our borders against pride just as much.

It is so easy for us to look at those who perceive the world differently and think we are somehow better and more righteous. But I think that when we become comfortable in our service to God to the point that we believe we are right and others have nothing to teach us, we run the real risk of pride.

Pride is not only the enemy of humility, it is the opposite of charity. Charity is more important even than faith, for faith fails. If we are earnest disciples to Christ, we will inevitably reach some moment in our lives when our faith is not enough to pull us through. But when those times come, we can cleave to the Savior by emulating His charity. Charity is more important than knowledge. Though we are to gain as much knowledge as we can in this life, we will not likely gain it all. There will come a time when our own understanding and knowledge will fail us. But we can fill the gaps of our understanding with a love for God and His children.

No one is entirely lost, no one is entirely saved. None of us are safe, even if we accomplish our Church service, support our leaders with silence and compliance, and do all that we are asked in this volunteer church. We can still fall prey to pride, to vain ambition, to the idols of the world. The Church of Christ is not made up only of members, nor is it only those who have been baptized. The Church is all those who repent: those who repent of misunderstanding doctrine, and those who repent of a lack of charity and compassion. Both errors I see just as much in "faithful members" of the Church as in those who are considered less faithful.

"Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.

"Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery; For, behold, I will gather them as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if they will not harden their hearts; Yea, if they will come, they may, and partake of the waters of life freely. Behold, this is my doctrine—whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church. Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church."

D&C 10:63-68

All the repentant will have a chance to be baptized. All will be able to make those covenants. But not all who are baptized are repentant. I challenge any of you who disagree with people like the OW movement to humble yourself in prayer and pray for that charity which is the end of all pride, all fear, and all death. That charity is the most powerful gift God can bestow.

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